Wishing you all the best in 2005!
Friday, December 31, 2004
These are the rules that were tested:
- the two referees wore roller skates.
- the goals were bigger (ice hockey size)
- the antiplay line was at 20 metres (normally it is at 22m)
- there was no substitution when a player is excluded
- from the 5th foul of each team each foul was awarded with a direct free hit.
Well, according to the final result and to the opinions of some players after the game and despite the fact that it was a friendly game, it seems that the new rules worked quite well!
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
19 12 Representatives of all Catalan political parties (except the PP) are present at the demonstration
19 13 Around 2 500 people are already at the Palau Blaugrana participating in the roller sports events that have been taking place since 15 30.
19 15 Sergi Panadero has won the shootout competition.
19 16 David Moner, president of the UFEC has confirmed that more than 20 000 people are participating in the demonstration through the streets of Barcelona.
19 21 More people are joining the demonstration as it goes through the streets of Barcelona.
19 24 UNA NACIO,UNA SELECCIO!! is the sole voice of the people of Catalonia demonstrating tonight in Barcelona.
19 27 The Catalan roller hockey team and the Reno All Starts are already warming up at the Palau Blaugrana's rink.
19 30 Jaume Roure, president of the Catalan federation of football, believes that it is a success to have gathered more than 20 000 people in support to the Catalan national teams. According to Roura more than 65 000 tickets had been already sold for the football game.
19 37 According to the organization, the number of demonstrators has increased to 30 000.
19 50 The beginnings of the demonstration have reached the end and it has started to dissolve.
19 52 The girls of CP Olot, gold medal in Fresno, are at this moment performing "Freedom", the performance that made them finish top in the last championship in Fresno.
20 07 The Catalan national anthem is playing at the Palau Blaugrana while players from both teams are paying respect.
20 08 A minute of silence for the victims of the earthquake in South Asia has being observed.
20 10 Different rules will be used in this game as a test for a better and more modern game.
20 15 The game has just started. More than 7 000 spectators at the Palau Blaugrana.
20 54 At half time the result between Catalunya and Reno All Stars is 5-6 to Reno All Stars.
21 30 The match has concluded with the victory of Catalonia over the Reno All Stars by the final result of 13 to 8.
21 32 The friendly football game between Catalonia and Argentina is ready to start. The players from both sides are on the pitch.
21 33 The Argentinian national anthem is playing at the Nou Camp. Around 6000 Argentinians are supporting their team in the stadium.
21 35 The Catalan national anthem is being played now. More than 70 000 Catalan fans are singing in the stands.
22 15 Half time. Argentina leads 1-0.
22 25 The Catalan hockey team, winners of the B World Cup in Macau, are now on the pitch receiving the recognition of the Catalan and Argentinian fans. Ivan Tibau, captain of the team has read a speech in defense of the Catalan national teams.
23 15 The game has ended with the final result of Catalonia 0 Argentina 3.
It has been a wonderful night for the Catalan sport. It has been shown worldwide that Catalan people love their hockey and roller sports in general and that they will keep fighting for what they want, the recognition of their national teams.
UNA NACIO, UNA SELECCIO! ONE NATION, ONE SELECTION!
Listen to it live at www.rac1.net
Here a summary of all the activities that will take place today in cronological order:
14 30 Children tournament: 10 minutes games between teams of 5-6 years old kids.
16 00 Female roller hockey game: Catalan national team v U-18 Catalan team.
17 30 Score a goal competition: Penalty shoutout by 10 U-12 children
18 00 Speed & ability circuit: 10 world class players will compete in this event.
18 30 Score & come to the Final four: will anyone score from midfield?
18 40 Free kick competition: 10 world class players will compete for a 500 euros prize.
19 00 to 19 50 Demonstration in support of the Catalan national team
19 50 Show skating exhibition: Alba Perez and the CP Olot, winners of the gold medal in the 2004 World Roller Figure Skating Championship in Fresno will perform "Freedom", a "gut-wrenching" heartfelt performance, according to Kathie Fry.
20 00 International game: Catalunya v Reno All Stars. (Live on C33)
21 30 International football friendly: Catalunya v Argentina (Live on TV3 and Eurosport)
At half time, Ivan Tibau captain of the Catalan hockey team, will read a plea in defense of the Catalan national teams.
A great day of sport, a great day for the Catalan people united with one sole voice:
UNA NACIO, UNA SELECCIO! ONE NATION, ONE SELECTION!!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
More than 1500 individuals and organisations have expressed their support already. You must be the next one!!!!
Friday, December 24, 2004
It is predicted that around 25 000 people will demonstrate in the streets of Barcelona just hours before the popular Christmas football game that will take place between Catalonia and Argentina. The demonstration will begin around 19 00 at the junction between Travessera de les Corts and Numancia and will end one hour later at the Nou Camp.
At 20 00 Catalonia´s hockey team will play the Reno All Starts and one hour and a half later Catalonia´s football team will play against Argentina in the tradional Christmas game.
Although the demostration has been supported by the Catalan civil society, all the Catalan political parties with the exception of the PP, together with work unions and other civil organisations are expected to give their support and participate in the demonstration.
David Moner, president of the UFEC has stated that : "it is about time that all the political parties take part to support the Catalan national team. Catalunya is top of the world in many sports but we cannot improve because we cannot go any further and compete internationally. The UFEC is working closely with Catalan government to gain the international recognition of other Catalan federations."
In addition, Moner has stated that: " There are times in which it is necessary to go out to the streets to express our feelings. In 1979 the Catalan people wanted a statut and more than a million people demonstrated and we finally got it. If we have to, we will go to Madrid in 5000 coaches to ask for the recognition of the Catalan teams."
All the information about the demonstration, including directions can be found at: www.seleccionscatalanesara.com
In addition if you cannot be present at the demonstration you still can give your support in the above site.
I would like to see more than 25 000 people there! In fact, since there would be at least 90 000 at the football game, I am confident that more than 50 000 will demonstrate in Barcelona...
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The Pabello Comunal d'Andorra will hold the game from 20 00. It must be remembered that these two teams played against each other in one of the semi-finals of the World Cup in Macau where Catalonia beat Andorra by 8-0.
The Catalan coach, Camps, will play the same men that play in Macau with the addition of FC Barcelona´s forward Sergi Panadero who will play in substitution of David Caceres, Igualada's forward, who has a groin injury.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Last Tuesday 14th, in a press conference at Club Pati Vic, the Commission "One nation, one selection", explained the reasons behind this demonstration and also informed that the commission is working towards helping for the recognition of the Catalan hockey team and getting the support of the people of Osona.
For this reason the commission is selling banners for 5 euros (see picture above) in order to finance the journey to Barcelona for the demonstration of the 29th of December.
In addition the contacts and collaboration with the two main roller hockey teams in Osona, C.P Vic and C.P Voltrega has been strengthened over the past weeks.
These two teams, big rivals on the rink, have offered all their support and will attend the demonstration just 24 hours before the local derby that will confront them.
From here we can only congratulate the commission and offer all our support.
Commission "One Nation, one Selection": www.unanaciounaseleccio.tk/
Osona.com : www.osona.com/SeleccioCatalanaHoquei.htm
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
The game will start at 20 00 and will have some of the best world players in both sides. The Catalan team will be mainly made up the players that won the B World Cup in Macau, with the addition of some players who couldn't play in Macau because they had already played with Spain in the European Championship. The All Stars team will include Argentinian, Italian and Portuguese players who play in the arguably best hockey league in the world , the OK Liga.
FC Barcelona's Negro Paez will the captain of the world selection.
This game will be played just minutes after the big demonstration that will take place in support of the Catalan national teams.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont will legally represent the Catalan federation.
The main points of the Catalan appeal are based on the violation of the FIRS statutes by the Central Committee who after accepting the appeal of Catalonia, did not allow any of the Catalan representatives to be heard during the following day Congress.
The appeal elaborated by Dupont will also make clear - and will present testimonial proof of the political pressures against some members of the FIRS that allegedly influenced the voting.
Hopefully the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) will act sensibly different than the FIRS Committee and will take all the opinions into consideration.
Out of 186 judges members of the TAS, three will be picked up to take the case. In addition, both the FIRS and the Catalan Federation will be asked to present evidence.
The TAS will resolve before the next World Cup in San Jose and it is expected that its decision will be that of invalidate what happened in Fresno. Consequently the scenario would be the same as it was just after the resolution of Miami, in which Catalonia was provisionally accepted as a new member of the FIRS.
If that happens, Catalonia should be allowed to participate in the A World Cup and then the possible decision of Spain would be to withdraw from the World Cup and to boycott the participation of Catalonia (as they did in the inline World Cup).
Again, let's wait and see!!
Monday, December 06, 2004
Cortes also resigned from all her tasks as director of roller sports in Mexico.
Minu Cortes was one of the FIRS members who unsuccessfully requested in two occasions that the admission of Catalonia was voted secretly.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
This is an extract of Macau's online newspaper's article Ponto Final:
Macau's hockey national team will finally see its dream come true. The no ratification of Catalonia as full member of the FIRS will allow Macau to take part in the World Cup.
However, the Catalans are not satisfied and they have already announced that they will appeal to the court.
Although only finishing fourth in the B World Cup of Macau, the team trained by Carlos Lisbon has benefited from the 'expulsion' of Catalonia. According to statutes of the FIRS, in case that some country (or region) retires or is disqualified, the remaining teams will move up a place in the tournament table.Thus, England, will become the winner of the 2004 B World Cup, Andorra will be the runners-up and Macau will get the third place.
The president of the Catalan Federation Ramon Basiana, publicly declared that he agrees with the decision of the government of Catalonia to remove the subsidies granted to the FIRS. "We will cancel the project of organising the 2009 first World-wide Games of Roller Sports., which were going to take place in the city of Barcelona."
On the other hand, Antonio Aguiar, vice-president of the Asian Confederation of Roller Hoquei, signed, last Saturday, a protocol with the Spanish government for the development of roller sports in Asia. In declaration to the newspaper Today Macau, Antonio Aguiar, advanced that the agreement contemplates monetary aids, training programs and the exchange of technicians. Objective: to prepare the participation in the next world championship.
Excellent job Spain!
This newspaper has been very belligerent with the Catalans in the past and has clearly positioned itself against the recognition of Catalonia (as most Spanish media).
Here is the interview:
David Moner, President of the Union of Sport Federations of Catalonia, is convinced that in less than two years "many Catalan selections will be recognized and will compete in Europe".
How can you explain the final result of the FIRS voting?
The whole Congress was a shame and disgraceful and strongly influenced by the Spanish government. If the voting had been secret we would have won by majority. The put pressure on all the delegations and they sent threatening letters. I represent the Catalan sport, more than 10 000 federated clubs, and we only wanted to be threated normally. All we want is to live in a normal country, without pressures. It is not a sin to revindicate our selections.
Did the Catalan politicians celebrate the B World Cup in excesss?
In March, the Catalans scored a great goal against Gomez Angulo and the Spanish Federation. And now they have scored. It is half time and we are drawingm, the game is still being played. Maybe the Catalan politicians celebrated the title too much but the threatening letters of the Spanish government were decisive.
Did the Catalan politicians fail?
Everyone failed, the Catalan and the Spanish. To the Spaniards this issue has become fundamentalist. The Catalan sportsmen believe in dialogue but we do not want that, after 25 years of democracy, some Spanish politicians, who are authentic talibans, come to us repeating that Spain is a great one and free (NB: "Una grande y libre", was Franco's motto).
Despite the result of the voting you will still appeal to the TAS?
Yes, we will request justice because in Fresno all the FIRS's statutes were violated. And we are going to win. Surely. Sooner or later we will obtain our objective and we will compete in Europe. And this is something that all the Spanish politicians and the presidents of the national federations will have to accept.
Do you share Carod Rovira's opinion on Madrid 2012?
(NB: Carod Rovira appealled the Catalans to show opposition to Madrid's bid for the Olympics)
No. The Catalan sport supports the candidacy of Madrid the same that we would support Seville or Cuenca. The UFEC is not represented by any politician and we are not separatists.
Is your next objective to propose a Catalan for the presidency of the Spanish Federation of roller sports?
We would like that to happen but before we must negotiate with the Spanish Superior Council of Sports.
In two years how many Catalan national teams will obtain the international recognition?
Enough. More than five or six. And it will be normal. For example the Catalan federation of Bodybuilders has competed in the last world-cup alongside the Spanish and nothing has happened.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
FIRS speech: http://www.artisticworldcup.org/allegati/intSabatino1.wmv
Many thanks to http://catxipanda.splinder.com/ for passing me this information.
How much we love this guy!!! :-)
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Speaking to Catalunya Radio, the representative of the Chilean federation, Armando Quintanilla, accused the Spanish federation of pressuring the south American countries against the admission of Catalonia. Quintanilla stated that members of the Spanish federation traveled to the South American under 16 Championship just two weeks before the FIRS Congress and once there they promised many countries help for voting against Catalonia.
Quintanilla also stated that : " the Spanish federation sent loads of faxes and emails telling us what to vote or otherwise we would lose some of the economic help that they provide."
According to Quintanilla the FIRS Congress was a shame and it has been the sport of roller hockey they main affected by this situation.
The Czeck Republic representative Radek Pavelec, has also admitted that his federation received pressures from the Spanish government.
In addition, a letter of the Spanish Council for Sports (CSD) to the Colombian federation in which the Spaniards were asking for the vote against Catalonia has been made public. In that letter the CSD states that the recognition of Catalonia would alter the Spanish sport national unity and would create a wrong precedent.
The same letter was sent to some other south American federations.
The German representative admitted that she was contacted by the German MP for Sport demanding the vote against Catalonia. Literally he asked her to make sure she was coming back from Fresno with a "no" against Catalonia.
More to come....
Monday, November 29, 2004
This is a summary of the interview:
"It is very difficult to be able to express at the moment, the feeling of rage, sadness and impotence that I feel due to the events that happened in Fresno.
There is no way to accept the shoddy work that has taken place in the city of Fresno, the brazenness of people that,like it has always been done in our sport, back handed without no democratic consideration nor moral repairs.
I consider myself to be a neutral person, and that gives me the moral authority to think with objectivity on what occurred the these days in the U.S.A.
It is true though that my links to Catalunya makes me understand and defend the fight for their sport rights at world-wide level, but is not less certain that those rights are legal and loyal.
Their aspirations where snatched even before the start of the Congress in a dictatorial and totally malicious way.
In conclusion, I do not know if someday justice will be made but I'm sure this week will be recorded as the blackest and most irrational in the history of roller hockey.
I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be present in the Olympic games of Barcelona 92 because now with this people who rule the FIRS, our sport will never be able to play in the Olympic games again.
God bless hockey and God bless Catalunya "
Thank you Gaby!
Although this might come as a shock for some, the idea is not that injudicious.
Ramon Baisana, president of the Catalan federation of roller sports (FCP) has admitted that this is a possibility to ponder.
Oliveras de la Riva, already former president of the FIRS, speaking with the Catalan radio station RAC1 acknowledged this option and confessed that it could be a sensible way forward for the Catalan hockey.
Similarly to what happened with the European basketball a few years ago, the Catalan federation would create a professionaly managed league in which all the Catalan teams would be able to compete. We must remember that 12 out of the 16 teams of the actual Spanish OK league are from Catalonia.
The downside of this would be the probable retaliation from the Spanish federation and from the International Committee of Rink Hockey, who could banned the Catalan teams from participating in European competitions.
Whatever decision the FCP takes, it has been confirmed by the Catalan government that they will still have the same budget as they have at the present.
Inevitably, the creation of a new league and the consequent separation of the Catalan federation from the Spanish, would mean the end of the roller hockey in Spain. Given that 12 out of the 16 best teams in the Spanish league are from Catalonia and that around 95% of the players and coaches are Catalans, the quality and the the structure of the professional teams remaining in the Spanish league would get very affected.
Is this the way forward? well, ask yourselves something: have we got any other options?
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Literally, Aracu states that: "following precise instructions from the President of Italy and according to the suggestions and pressures that other governments have directed towards me in the past months, I activated a plot of international mediation that has determined the vote of the members of the FIRS Executive Committee against Catalonia".
Aracu, proudly adds that: "by doing this I have eliminated the possibility of a dangerous precedent that would have encouraged the nationalism present in Spain and many other countries".
In any other country, these words would be taken very seriously and an immediate resignation would be expected.
Read Aracus' press note:
The expulsion of the Catalan Federation of Skating after having being provisionally admitted last March in Miami, can bring manifold as much consequences in this sport as in the fight by the international recognition of the Catalan sport selections.
The strange circumstances in which the refusal took place will entail that the subject has continuity in the courts.
The strategy of the Catalan hockey is determined by Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont, famous by the Bosman case and contracted by the Catalan government. Dupont affirmed on Friday that although "it is not good to take decisions in the heat of the moment, we should take the case to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) that is made up of impartial judges who can distribute justice in this subject".
If the Catalans resort to the CAS they will have to do so in the term of 20 days and the decision could be known in a term between six and eight months.
All the effort and excellent hockey that some innocent players put together to lift the first World Cup for Catalonia has vanished thanks to the dirty politics and interests of a bunch of politicians that don't really care about hockey.
From this site I would like to express my appreciation to every single member of that Catalan team who made us proud of loving hockey and being Catalans. Thank you!
Saturday, November 27, 2004
More articles and the Italian point of view at:
Feel free to email Sabatino Aracu at ARACU_S@camera.it
Unfortunately, in the 21st century there are still some so-called democratic countries that think they can use everything they want in order to accomplish their objectives.
This is what happened yesterday in the annual congress of the FIRS in Fresno (California).
The scenes lived in the Assembly made clear that there was a plot so that Catalunya wasn't recognised as a full member of the FIRS.
It was a monumental scandal. A shameful end for an authentic collective shame, that made the former president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva, to publicly apologise in behave of the world of roller sports.
It all started when the General Secretary of the FIRS, Roberto Maroto, proposed to vote the ratification of the decision taken by the Executive Committee of invalidating the provisional admission of Catalonia.
Ignacio González, lawyer of the Spanish, stormed off his seat shouting and asking for that voting not to take place.
From that moment the chaos took over the meeting.
First the possibility of secret voting was prevented (despite the fact that more than two federations requested so), later it was said that the voting was to say no to the provisional admission of Catalonia, which really confused most of the FIRS, and finally the Catalan federation was not allowed to take the work and defense their arguments.
Jean Louis Dupont, lawyer of the Catalan federation, approached the microphone but he was prevented to speak by the Italian Aracy and the Spanish lawyer Gozalez.
In this scandalous climate and while some South American members requested explanations, the Secretary General started up the voting, that resulted in 114 yes (not to Catalunya), 8 favorable votes and 2 abstentions. The "no" to Catalonia arrived after 12 minutes of dialectic battle that at some moments gave the impression that could end up in a fight, with the Spaniards trying to rule the meeting .
It was outrageous to see an Italian MP, Sabatino Aracu, shouting at the Catalan lawyer and phisically blocking him from expressing his legal opinion.
It was the culmination of the authentic holdup that has been both days lived in Fresno and the clear demonstration that there have been many political pressures to prevent the admission of Catalunya was accepted.
Friday, November 26, 2004
The different delegates of the FIRS have started entering the hall where the FIRS Congress will take place.
Ramon Basiana, president of the Catalan federation, has confirmed that the Spanish government has interfered with the voting and have pressured many governments and federations.
18 20 GMT
The actual president of the FIRS, Isidro Oliveras will open the annual congress. After his speech he is expected to present his resignation.
18 25 GMT
We must remember that the FIRS Executive Committee has accepted an appeal against the decision taken yesterday.
Therefore, if only one federation asks for a voting to ratify the decision taking by the committee the congress will have to vote. Then if 51% of the votes are against the decision of the Executive Committee, Catalonia will have to be included in the list of federations provisionally admitted and will have another chance to become a full member of the FIRS.
18 27 GMT
The different members of the FIRS are starting to take a seat in the hall. The Congress will begin in a few minutes.
18 57 GMT
The Congress hasn't started yet. There is a delay of one hour due to unknown reasons.
19 15 GMT
The president of the FIRS has started his speech.
Oliveras who was supposed to present his resignation at the beginning of this meeting hasn't done so yet.
Oliveras has explained the decision taken by the Executive Committe. He has said that his absence from the voting yesterday was to allow the other members to vote without any pressure since he had previously expressed his favorable opinion to the recognition of Catalonia.
Oliveras has congratulated the Spanish federation and their representatives.
19 32 GMT
Oliveras has asked for a few minutes to explain his beliefs. Now he is talking about ethical decisions and assumption of political responsibilities. For these reasons he presents his unconditional resignation. He believes that he must present his resignation since it is clear that the Committe doesn't share his ideas and consequently it wouldn't be right to carry on presiding the FIRS.
He has presented Ernesto Gonzalez Molina as the new provisional president of the FIRS.
20 06 GMT
Oliveras has stated that the appeal presented by the Catalans will be seen in item 12 of the meeting. He has explained that if the appeal is accepted the Congress will have to vote. Oliveras has also stated that the representatives of the Catalan and Spanish federation might have the chance to speak and express their arguments.
Oliveras has also explained that the FIRS has to be cautious with the way this issue is handed since if the FIRS constitution is broken the issue could be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and that could have awful consequences for the FIRS.
20 15 GMT
The provisional president of the FIRS Ernesto Gonzalez Molina has taken over Isidro Oliveras and he is going through the different items of the meeting.
As the Catalan appeal is item 10 we will be back in due time.
21 00 GMT
It appears that in 2 or 3 hours, Jean Louis Dupont, the lawyer representing the Catalan federation will speak to the FIRS congress to explain that the decision taken by the Executive Committee is not legal and therefore the Congress should reverse the decision taken yesterday. If the Congress decide not to reverse that decision, Dupont will express the desire of the Catalan federation to take the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
21 17 GMT
The Congress has aproved the admission of a set of federations in which Catalonia is not included.
Afterwards, the item 12 will be raised and the president will ask whether any federation wants the voting to be secret.
21 22 GMT
Mexico has asked for the voting to be secret. The president of the Spanish federation is protesting against this decision. There is a big argument between the Spanish representative and the FIRS. The president of the Spanish federation wants to vote the ratification of the decision the Executive Committe whether the Congress wants to vote the provisional admission of each country one at each time.
21 30 GMT
Chaos at the Congress!
The Spanish federation is demanding not to vote but there is an appeal from the Catalan federation and therefore it has to be ratified or rejected by the members of the Congress in secret voting.
The spanish representatives are not allowing the Catalan lawyer to speak in the Congress. Jean Louis Dupont wants to explain the Congress that the voting has to be secret if two federations ask for this. The Catalan federation should be allowed to speak since they have filed an appeal that has been accepted.
The Spanish lawyer has just told the Catalan lawyer to get out of the Congress since he has not spanish nationality (?)
The situation is now very tense.
21 45 GMT
The Congress has voted against the admission of Gibraltar. The voting has not been secret.
The Congress has voted against the admission of Catalonia. The voting has not been secret. The Spanish federations has applauded the decision. The Congress has not allowed the Catalan representatives to defence their arguments.
22 00 GMT
The Catalan federation has abandoned the FIRS congress and are getting ready to talk to the press in brief.
Meantime, Oliveras de la Riva thinks that after this decision the Catalan teams, 12 out of 14 in the Spanish league, might decide to creat their own European league.
This would mean the end of the Spanish federations. We must remember that 98% of the roller hockey players in the Spanish league are Catalans.
22 30 GMT
In press conference the Catalan representatives together with the former president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva, have criticised the manners in which the voting has taken place.
The Congress asked its members to vote whether they disagreed with the decision taken by the Committee, since the vote was not secret the implications of this were highlighted by the Catalans.
Ramon Basiana, president of the Catalan federation, has accused the members of the Spanish federation of being racist towards the Catalans.
Isidro Oliveras, former president of the FIRS has explained that because he is no longer the president of the FIRS he is now free to fully speak his mind.
First he has apologised for the behaviour and the way the Congress has been ruled. Oliveras has stated that the FIRS constitution has been infringed in many ways.
In addition he has offered his services and help to the Catalan federation and has congratulated the Catalan federation for the way they have dealt with the controversy at all time.
Jean Louis Dupont, the lawyer of the Catalan federation has explained that he was told by the Spanish representatives that he could not speak and defence the Catalan arguments since he was not Spanish.
Dupont has read a letter in which the Spanish government confirmed that the federations were private institutions and therefore the government couldn't interfere in any way with any decision taken on this matter. Dupont has affirmed that despite that letter they have proof of pressures made by the Spanish government to different federations.
Listen to it live at RAC1:
A grave President Oliveras speaking to the international press on November 25, 2004, after the FIRS Executive Committee reversed their provisional recognition of the Catalonian Federation, a decision he believes will negatively affect the future of the sport of traditional roller hockey.
On November 25, 2004, the Executive Committee of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) reversed the provisional recognition they granted to the Catalonian Roller Sports Federation at the March 2004 FIRS Congress in Miami, Florida.
That decision was made after the Executive Committee considered a protest filed by the Spanish Federation. The Spanish Federation disagreed with the recognition of the Catalonian Federation because Catalonia is a region within Spain.
President Oliveras announced the decision at a November 25, 2004 press conference in Fresno, California, and after he spoke, both the Spanish and Catalonian Federations made formal statements to the press.
I was present at the press conference, but I must be careful about what I report because the press conference was in Spanish, and my understanding of the Spanish language is limited. The information I am reporting here came from press conference attendees on both sides of the situation who were kind enough to try and keep me informed about what was being said.
Here is my understanding of the current situation, based on my discussions with journalists at the press conference:
-The March 2004 FIRS decision to provisionally recognize Catalonia was reversed by the FIRS Executive Committee after a protest filed by the Spanish Federation was considered.
-Isidro Oliveras, the president of FIRS announced that he will present his resignation at the FIRS Annual Congress on November 26, 2004. President Oliveras does not believe the Catalonia recognition should have been reversed, and he believes the admission of the Catalonian Federation would have helped to revive the dying sport of traditional roller hockey.
-The Catalonian Federation plans to present an appeal at the FIRS Congress on November 26, 2004, asking the Congress to overturn the decision made by the Executive Committee on November 25, and reinstate the provisional recognition of Catalonia.
Excellent report Kathie!
Link and pictures:
Ferreira has stated that: "the governments of South America have contacted the different federations to ask them to vote agaisnt the recognition of Catalonia. I was asked by my government to vote against Catalonia, I believe that some agreements have been signed between Spain and Colombia."
Apparently after further instigations by the Spanish goevernment, Ferreira will be asked to resign after his comments. His resignation will take place next week.
All the Catalan political parties, except the Partido Popular (a right-wing spanish nationalist party), unions and other civil organisations have confirmed their support to the demonstration that will start at 19 00 in front of the Delegation of the Spanish government in Barcelona (next to the Estacio de Franca railstation).
If you live in Catalonia, GO OUT AND DEMONSTRATE!!!!!!!!!!
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.
Dupont has stated that: "the Swiss law and the CAS don't like dirty games being played against any federation. What has just been done to the Catalan federation is not on and they will have to pay for this. Catalonia followed all the rules and made their move always within the law. In the middle of a game the FIRS has just modified the rules and this is not right".
The argument of the Spaniards is that to be able to appeal against any decision taken by the Executive Committe you have to be a member of the FIRS and since the provisional admission of the Catalan federation was invalidated yesterday, the Catalans would not have the right to appeal.
According to Jean Louis Dupont, the Catalan federation lawyer, there has been infringements of the law, such as denying the right to defense and breaching the FIRS statutes.
Dupont believes that only the General Assembly of the FIRS has the right to admit or expel any new members.
Although the General Secretary of the FIRS, the Italian Roberto Marotta hasn't been very receptive at the beginning, he has finally admitted the appeal and therefore the case will be discussed again in the General Assembly that will begin this afternoon GMT.
The Catalan lawyers Jean Louis Dupont and have been working since yesterday in an appeal that will be presented in the FIRS annual congress later today.
The FIRS congress can overrule any decision taking by the Executive Commitee and there is where the Catalans base their hopes in.
If only one federation asks for a voting to ratify the decision taking by the committee the congress will have to vote. Then if 51% of the votes are against the decision of the Executive Committee, Catalonia will have to be included in the list of federations provisionally admitted and will have another chance to become a full member.
It is likely that at least one federation asks for this voting (maybe Andorra), but it seems very difficult to get the 51% of the votes in the later voting.
Again let's wait and see...
Thursday, November 25, 2004
The FIRS Executive Committee is in a meeting at this moment. The Spanish federation has presented a document or a letter and for this reason the president of the FIRS, Isidro Oliveras is having a one-to-one meeting with the president of the Spanish federation, Garcia Raposo.
Apparently, the Spanish and the Catalan federation will not present their arguments in front of the Executive Committee.
The Spanish federation complained about one of the representatives that was going to defend the Catalan federation, Mr Dupont.
The Executive Committee of the FIRS has decided that they know everything they have to know about the issue and therefore they will take a decision based on the information that they already have.
The president of the Catalan Federation, Ramon Basiana thinks that the Executive Committee will decide against the appeal of the Spanish federation and therefore the final decision will be made at the annual meeting of the FIRS that will take place tomorrow.
Oliveras, Basiana and Jean-Louis Dupont are having a meeting at this moment.
Rumours are that the Executive Committee has voted and the results are negative for Catalonia. 6-3 or 5-4 for the appeal of the Spanish federation.
The Italian representatives have stated that they have accepted the Spanish appeal by 6 votes to 3.
Other rumours are that there has not been a voting yet.
Jean Louis Dupont is the lawyer that changed the world of sport with the "Bosman Law". He is acting as delegate of the Catalan Federation
The document presented by the Catalan Federation was based in the law of sport and prepared by Jean Louis Dupont. According to that document, the Spanish appeal wouldn't be valid as the admission of the Catalan federation was only provisional. There could only be an appeal against a permanent decision.
The Italian representative has stated that ther will not be a voting in the meeting tomorrow.
Garcia Raposo has been seen congratulating the Colombian member of the Executive Committee.
It looks like Spain has won the appeal.
The president of the FIRS is still in a meeting with the president of the Catalan federation and with Jean Louis Dupont.
Apparently the Colombian member of the Committee has settled the draw. Previous information indicated that the Colombian representative was going to vote against the Spanish appeal.
The Australian member has also voted against the Catalans.
The Colombian member after huggin the Spanish president has been seen saying : "whatever you need from us..."
It looks like the Executive Committee voted whithout the knowledge of the President of the F FIRS, Isidro Oliveras.
Ramon Basiana says that they are waiting for an official communication from the FIRS.
It appears that the decision of the Executive Committee has been to invalidate the decision taken last March in Miami in which the FIRS provisionally admited the Catalan Federation. This is the reason why they haven't even heard the arguments of both federations.
We can confirm that the voting has taken place without the knowledge of the president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva.
The argument now is whether this is legal or not according to the FIRS statutes.
Jean Louis Dupont is in conversations with the Spanish federation lawyer.
The Executive Committee is still reunited.
The Catalan Secretary of Sport, Rafel Niubo, has stated that they are still unaware of the official decision.
He has confirmed that they will present an appeal at the FIRS annual meeting that will take place tomorrow.
The Catalan federation might be considering filling an appeal against this decision.
It looks like there has been a rebellion against the president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva, and the members have decided to invalidate the provisional admission of Catalonia that took place last March in Miami.
It is known by everyone that the Italian member, Sabatino Aracu, has personal disagreements with Oliveras de la Riva and wants to be the new president of the FIRS.
We still haven't got an official confirmation.
The president of the Spanish federation Garcia Raposo and the president of the Catalan Ramon Basiana, have just entered the room where the FIRS Executive Committee is reunited.
The members of the Spanish federation are celebrating the decision although they say that they will wait until the president of the FIRS makes official the results.
The president of the Catalan federation, Ramon Basiana has explained that the Executive Committee of the FIRS has decided to invalidate the provisional admission of the Catalan federation.
The Executive Committee has not even considered the appeal from the Spanish federation nor the arguments from the Catalans.
The president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva, in press conference has confirmed that the Committee has decided to invalidate the provisional admission of the FIRS that was presented in Miami last March,
Some members who had voted for the admission of Catalonia, had demanded a revision of that decision and after that revision and the following discussion, the Executive Committee of the FIRS had decided to invalidate such decision.
Oliveras has confirmed that the Gibraltar federation request has also been rejected.
Finally, Oliveras has made public his resignation that he will present in the FIRS annual meeting tomorrow.
He still believes though, that the sport of roller hockey is dying and that the admission of the Catalan federation would have been a great boost for the recovery of the roller hockey.
Gibraltar, a British colony, has a total of 12 federations recognised internationally, although Bermuda is the British colony with more federations, a total of 31.
We must remember that Spain also opposed the admission of Gibraltar into the FIFA by threating to withdraw all the spanish teams for every FIFA competition.
I thought the Spanish inquisition was dead and buried!!!
Basiana, who is in Fresno since last Sunday, thinks that: “It is this optimism and hopes what has brought us here”. According to Basiana, the provisional admission of Catalonia last March, was taken within the legality of the FIRS and therefore there shouldn’t be any reason why the Spanish appeal should be filed.
Surprisingly Basiana believes that the recognition of Catalonia would also be beneficial for Spain since: “there would be more sportsmen and resources that would eventually represent the Spanish kingdom, some with the Spanish federation and some with the Catalan federation. I know it might be hard to understand from a political point of view, but this shouldn’t be a political issue but a sportive one.”
In addition, Basiana has criticised the Spanish Olympic Committee COE, for their decision of starting a disciplinary action against the president of the FIRS, Oliveras de la Riva: “instead of trying to start a dialog between both sides the COE have decided to discipline a man who has done loads for the world of roller sport in the past years. It does not surprise me though, since they also started a disciplinary on me just for expressing my opinions”
Basiana believes that a possible game Spain v Catalonia would hugely benefit the world of roller hockey as it would be comparable to other big rivalry games such as England v Scotland or Barca v Madrid.
Finally, thinks that it would be a real shame if Oliveras resigns as result of the no admission of Catalonia as he has been a real asset for the world of roller sports and has made enormous steps in its final recognition as an Olympic discipline.
Source: Europa Press
The first place trophy in the show skating competition at the 2004 Roller Figure Skating World Championships was a show team from an artistic roller skating team in the town of Olot in the Catalonian region of Spain.
The theme of the world championship performance was "Freedom" and for those in the audience who were familiar with the FIRS/Catalonia situation the performance of these skaters from Olot felt like a gut-wrenching, heartfelt, last minute plea to the international skating community to allow the Catalonian Roller Sports Federation to be confirmed as a member of the International Roller Sports Federation. That decision will be made at the 2004 FIRS Congress in Fresno on November 26, 2004.
What else do they need to realise what Catalonia wants?
Reported by Kathie Fry in Fresno.
Link and picture:
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The Executive Committee meeting will begin at 09 00 (local time), midnight (Paris time).
In this meeting the appeal from the Spanish federation will be discussed and the representatives of the Spanish Federation, Enrique Garcia Raposo, will present his arguments at 14 30 for fifteen minutes. After this, Ramon Basiana, president of the Catalan Federation will expose his arguments for fifteen minutes as well.
Finally, the Executive Committee, which will not have his Japanese member Yoshiro Noguchi due to illness, will deliberate and make a final decision.
Three scenarios are possible:
1st The Spanish appeal wins: In that case, Oliveras will present his unconditional resignation.
2nd The Spanish appeal is not accepted: The General Assembly on Friday will have to vote whether or not to recognise Catalonia.
3rd A draw: In that case, Oliveras will have to settle that draw. Oliveras will vote agaisnt the Spanish appeal.
The FIRS General Assembly on Friday will also start at 9 00 (local time).
The arguments for and against the admission of Catalonia will be exposed to all the FIRS members.
Then the admission of another set of federations ( Bulgaria, Georgia, Honduras, Iran, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Romania, Bosnia, Turkey, Gibraltar and Paraguay) will be voted as a whole, however, the case of Catalonia, Canada and Costa Rica will be voted individually.
If 2 federations ask for the voting to be secret it will be so.
Around 16 00 (local time), the Assembly will have decided if Catalonia is finally recognised as a full member. If this does not happen, Oliveras will present his unconditional resignation...
... and the Catalan dream will remain as that, just a beautiful dream!
Monday, November 22, 2004
Prior to this, on Thursday, the FIRS will have to discuss an appeal made by the Spanish Federation against the provisional admission of the Catalans that was granted last March in the FIRS meeting in Miami.
There are 12 members in the FIRS Executive Committee who will decide whether to accept or not the Spanish appeal on Thursday 25th.
The members of the FIRS Executive Committee are:
President: Isidro Oliveras de la Riva (ESP)
1st Vice-president: Ernesto Gonzalez Molina (ARG)
General Secretary/Artistisc: Roberto Marotta (ITA)
Speed: James Pollard (USA)
Inline hockey: George Pickard (USA)
Hockey: Harro Strucksberg (GER)
Europe: Sabatino Aracu (ITA)
Asia: Yoshiro Noguchi (JPN)
America: Carlos Orlando Ferreira (COL)
Australasia: Valerie Leftwitch (AUS)
Africa: Dr. Nabih el Alkamy (EGY)
All these members, with the exception of Sabatino Aracu, Yoshiro Noguchi and Dr. Nabih el Alkamy, were present in the last committee in which Catalonia was provisionally admitted to the FIRS.
As the conditions in which Catalonia was admitted have remained the same in the past 8 months, there shouldn't be any powerful reason why the Spanish appeal would be accepted.
However, Sabatino Aracu, who has expressed his interest in becoming the next president of the FIRS, has publicly critised Oliveras over the way that decision was taken and has also admitted that he is against the recognition of Catalonia. Aracu is a member of the Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, and he is expected to lead the vote against Catalonia.
Oliveras will only vote in case of a draw.
If the decision is not to accept the appeal then the final step will take place on Friday 26th at the FIRS Annual meeting.
34 countries have confirmed their attendance. The countries will have as many votes as roller sport disciplines recognised in those countries.
Confirmed countries (in brackets no of votes):
Australia (5), Colombia (5), Spain (5), USA (5), France (5), Italy (5), Japan (5), Mexico (5), UK (5), Switzerland (5), Germany (4), Argentina (4), Brazil (4), Canada (4), Chile (4), China (4), Holland (4), India (4), Portugal (4), New Zealand (4), Taiwan (4), Belgium (3), Croatia (3), Cuba (3), Denmark (3), Ecuador (3), Slovenia (3), Dominican Republic (3), Andorra (3), Angola (3), Nigeria (2), Panama (2), Paraguay (2) and Peru (2).
The voting will be secret if this is asked by 10% of the votes, which means that there are only 2 countries needed to ask for this for the voting to be secret.
A secret vote will mean that each represented will be able to vote without any pressure since no one will ever know who voted what. This is seen as an important advantage by the Catalans.
However the pressures from the Spanish government through the Spanish Council for Sport CSD, has been strong over the past weeks.
It seems that strong European countries such as Italy, Portugal or France will have agreed with the Spaniards to vote against the Catalans. The secretary of the CSD, Rafael Blanco, recently travelled around South America to convince some south American countries to vote against Catalonia. On the 8th of November, Spain and Argentina agreed to sign a cooperation agreement for the year 2005.
These countries, apart from the arguments exposed by the Spaniards, will see Catalonia as a threat to their dominance in roller hockey.
On the other hand, the Catalans seem to have the support of small south American and African countries on top of Andorra.
Although not many countries have expressed their preferences, some believe that the recognition of Catalonia would benefit a sport that is dying everywhere but in Catalonia where every week twice as many games are played as they are played anywhere else in the world.
The final decision....in 5 days!!!
Sunday, November 21, 2004
The team from Olot with the performance titled "Freedom" has won the Show Skating World Championships.
Alba Perez has won the Junior Free Skating (short and long) competition and finished second in the combined event.
Manel Perez finished fourth, second and second in the Junior figures, free skating and combined respectively, whereas Carles Gasset finished third in free skating.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
With only 7 days to the FIRS meeting, I think it'd be a good time to express how are you feeling. What do you think is going to happen? What would you like to happen?
Please email me or post any comments and I will link them to this "Inside my mind" post.
1. Marc, a hockey lover:
The most powerful man in roller skating says that Catalonia has met all the requirements in order to become a full member of the FIRS. Although Oliveras is in the line of fire, he seems to be managing the situation very well.
Oliveras is aware of the importance of this and is trying to avoid the various political pressures. He is convinced that the roller sport will benefit hugely from the incorporation of Catalonia.
For this reason, he explained to all the members of the FIRS committee what his position was in this issue and now he is receiving the criticism of the Spanish nationalism and the Spanish Olympic Committee has started a disciplinary action against him.
What is your reaction to the disciplinary action started by the COE?
I think it is normal. The COE is a private body and has the right to start any disciplinary action. Is it fair? I do not know. I have no criteria, it is their decision and I respect it.
What has changed since the provisional recognition of Catalonia last March?
Nothing substantial has changed. The conditions remain the same and Catalonia was admitted because they had met all the requirements of the FIRS.
The only thing that has changed is the media and the political interest. I think that this is a good thing if it means talking more about our sport.
Is your opinion still the same?
What was the purpose of the letter you sent to the members of the FIRS Executive Committee ?
I wanted them to know my ideas with regards to this issue, and I sent that letter 12 days before so they would have enough time to analyse the situation.
As a president, it is my duty to explain to my colleagues what I think.
I am sure that Joan Laporta (FC Barcelona president) would give his opinion on whether Barca has to sign Ronaldinho or not. Then the other vice-presidents can say whether they agree or not.
I am not a judge that has to be neutral. The fact the Spanish press got hold of that letter can be considered an act of disloyalty by someone in my committee.
Have you received any pressures during the last week?
Will you vote during the Executive Commission in which the appeal of the Spanish federation will be considered?
No, the vote of the president will only be used to settle a possible draw.
What do you think it will happen in that Executive Commission meeting?
I have no idea. We will let everyone expose their ideas, but I have to emphasise that things haven’t changed since last March when Catalonia was provisionally admitted to the the FIRS.
It would be a contradiction to change our mind now.
Is this the most important issue you have had to face since you became president of the FIRS?Definitely not. Maybe the one with the most media interest, but in my many years as a president I have dealt with more important issues.
You talk about being president for so many years, are you considering announcing your resignation?
Clearly, if my colleagues don’t support my ideas, it will not be possible for me to continue as president. My continuity is linked to the final decision on the Catalan issue.
Why do you think it is good for the FIRS that Catalonia becomes a full member?
Because they meet all the requirements and because it is always good to add up, especially when we talk about a first class country in roller hockey where more than 400 games are played every weekend. The roller hockey sport is dying because from 43 national teams that played the last world cup we only have 30 now.
The survival of roller hockey might depend on the recognition of Catalonia and that is why I support 100% the admission of Catalonia as full member.
Do you understand the position of the president of the Spanish federation Enrique Garcia Raposo?
Totally, he defends his position and although I understand it, I don’t share his opinion.
Can you see a Catalonia v Spain?Why not?
I can’t see a reason why that game couldn’t be played.
The Spanish government say that the law doesn’t allow it, but the FIRS is a private body, that has its own regulations and the Catalan federation is within those regulations.
We cannot rule ourselves by the rules of all the different countries. Besides, the laws change over time and I can’t see a reason why this law could not be changed.
How is your relation with the Spanish Sport Council (CSD)?
Excellent. Jaime Lissavetzki, Rafael Blanco and Manolo Fonseca, are all very dialogant people. I have no problems with them.
It wasn’t like that with the previous Spanish Sport Council, was it?
The problem was not with the CSD. There was no dialog with the Secretary, Juan Antonio Gómez-Angulo.
He called me “bad Spaniard” and “miserable” but that is part of the past.
Oliveras adds that he has taken the decision very well and thinks that the COE has the right to take their own decisions if these are legitimate.
Finally, Oliveras states that he has no idea whether this will be the previous step before his final expulsion as a member of the COE and confirms that he will present his resignation if Catalonia is not admitted as a full member of the FIRS.
Whatever the final resolution of the FIRS is, the Catalan people should be more than grateful to this man, who has showed honesty and integrity in these difficult moments.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The resolution also demands respect for all those sport women and men who express their wish to represent Catalonia instead of Spain.
The COE have decided that Oliveras' beliefs constitute a "serious disciplinary infraction".
In order to start the proceedings against Oliveras, the Executive Committee of the COE has named as instructor, Marco Antonio Rioja, president of the COE's Legal Commission, and the secretary to be Julio González Ronco, secretary of the COE'S Legal Commission.
See my post on Wednesday 10th of November, for Oliveras' statement about the admission of Catalonia.
It didn't take long for the criticisms to begin!
Note that Oliveras has been disciplined "only" for being brave and honest and make his beliefs public.
In my opinion they should be ashamed of themselves.
Monday, November 15, 2004
The Catalan team are double European Champions and gained the bronze medal in the last world cup in Argentina and are also clear favourites in this tournament.
Even though Catalonia is a provisional member of the FIRS and the team could have represented the Catalan Roller Skating Federation, in order to avoid any controversy just a few days before the FIRS annual meeting, they accepted to represent Spain and the Spanish federation. However, all the costs are funded by the Catalan federation and no funded has been granted from the Spanish federation.
Another team of the catalan city of Reus will also be present in this World Championship.
Full list of participants:
Monica Gimeno (Junior Women's Figures, Free Skating and Combined)
Alba Perez (Junior Women's Figures, Free Skating and Combined)
Manel Perez (Junior Men's Figures, Free Skating and Combined)
Carles Gasset (Junior Men's Free Skating)
Albert Trilla (Senior Men's Figures, Free Skating and Combined)
Laura Sanchez (Senior Women's Free Skating)
Tamara Valderrama (Senior Women's Free Skating)
C.P.A Olot "Freedom"
Anna ANGLADA, Mireia BONFILL, Ada CASAS, Susanna CONDE, Ester FABREGA, Mireia GARCIA, Gemma JOU, Carla JUVANTENY, Imma JUVANTENY, Marta JUVANTENY, Elisabeth MANEL, Olga MARTI, Laura MIR, Coral MOISET, Laura PUIGDEMONT, Anna QUINTANA, Laura RUIZ, Sandra SALA, Anna TORRENT, Anna TRIFON, Maria VALENCIA, Anna VILA, Marta VILA,
Manager: Miquel CASAS
Coach: Ricard PLANIOL, Manel JUVANTENY
Choreographer: Lourdes RIGAT
C.P Reus "Phenomenon Gaudi"
From here we wish them all the luck on this major championship!!!